Chaotic Logic -- Copyright Plenum Press © 1994
Logic ... an imperative, not to know the true, but to posit and arrange a world that shall be called true by us.
-- Friedrich Nietzsche
This book summarizes a network of interrelated ideas which I have developed, off and on, over the past eight or ten years. The underlying theme is the psychological interplay of order and chaos. Or, to put it another way, the interplay of deduction and induction. I will try to explain the relationship between logical, orderly, conscious, rule-following reason and fluid, self-organizing, habit-governed, unconscious, chaos-infused intuition.
My previous two books, The Structure of Intelligence and The Evolving Mind, briefly touched on this relationship. But these books were primarily concerned with other matters: SI with constructing a formal language for discussing mentality and its mechanization, and EM with exploring the role of evolution in thought. They danced around the edges of the order/chaos problem, without ever fully entering into it.
My goal in writing this book was to go directly to the core of mental process, "where angels fear to tread" -- to tackle all the sticky issues which it is considered prudent to avoid: the nature of consciousness, the relation between mind and reality, the justification of belief systems, the connection between creativity and mental illness,.... All of these issues are dealt with here in a straightforward and unified way, using a combination of concepts from my previous work with ideas from chaos theory and complex systems science.
My approach to the mind does not fall into any of the standard "schools of thought." But neither does it stand completely apart from the contemporary scientific and intellectual scene. Rather, I draw on ideas from a variety of disciplines, and a host of conflicting thinkers. These ideas are then synthesized with original conceptions, to obtain a model that, while, fundamentally novel, has many points of contact with familiar ideas. Perhaps the most obvious connections are with Kampis's (1991) component-system theory, Edelman's (1987) theory of neuronal group selection, Nietzsche's (1968) late philosophy of mind, Chaitin's (1988) algorithmic information theory, Whorf's (1948) well-known analysis of linguistic thought, and the dynamical psychology of Ralph and Fred Abraham (1992). But there are many other important connections as well.
The ideas of this book range wide over the conceptual map; indeed, the selection of topics may appear to the reader to obey a very chaotic logic. And the intended audience is almost equally wide. The ideas contained here should be thought-provoking not only to theoretical psychologists and general systems theorists, but also to anyone with an interest in artificial intelligence, applied mathematics, social science, biology, philosophy or human personality. Unfortunately, the nature of the material is such that certain sections of the book will not be easy going for the general reader. However, I have done my best to minimize the amount of technical terminology, and I have flagged with (*)'s those few sections containing a significant amount of formalism. These sections can be skipped without tremendous loss of understanding.
In sum, I am well aware that this book will draw criticism for its ambitious choice of topic. I also realize that my approach defies the norms of every academic discipline (sometimes quietly, sometimes ostentatiously). However, I believe that one must follow one's scientific intuition where it leads. All that I ask of you, as a reader, is that you consider the ideas given here based on their own intrinsic merits, rather than how "orthodox" or "unorthodox" they may appear.
The symbiosis between logic and intuition is a very tricky thing; perhaps the subtlest phenomenon we humans have ever tried to comprehend. In order to make progress toward an understanding of this strange, fundamental symbiosis, we must summon all our powers of analysis and imagination -- and check our preconceptions at the door.